Killer Mike Supports Bernie Sanders At The Democratic Debate & Gives The Senator A Good "Rap"
The unlikely friendship between presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and hip-hop artist Killer Mike came full circle at the year's first Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina, held on the eve of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In interviews in the media's spin room following the debate, Killer Mike spoke passionately in support of Sanders, touting the senator as the only politician to turn the social justice philosophy of King into political reform.
In a Periscope interview with Complex, Killer Mike talked about Sanders' popularity with young voters, and stressed the senator's political similarities with King's philosophies.
You deserve a president that is aligned in principle with the greatest black person, the greatest American you've ever learned about, Dr. Martin Luther King. Poor peoples' campaign, worker's rights, education as a right, are all things that our heroes and grandmothers have told us about. You now have an opportunity in your lifetime to elect a president reflective of those values."
When asked by reporters if he was intentionally trying to tie Sanders to King because of the timing of the debate, the Kill the Jewels rapper insisted that he'd been making the argument since the politician tweeted about restoring the Voting Rights Act in late June last year.
Along with being an active and vocal advocate for Sanders' grassroots campaign, Killer Mike seems to have struck up an odd-couple sort of friendship with the lawmaker. In the spin room, the hip-hop artist said that the two bonded at their first meeting over a mutual dislike of formal attire.
In the hours leading up to the debate, Sanders sat down with Killer Mike, Dr. Cornel West, and former Ohio state senator and minority whip Nina Turner for a live-streamed discussion about King's civil right's work, in which Sanders heartily laughed at Killer Mike's jokes. The musician draws the connection between Sanders and Dr. King early in the talk:
It never talks about the social justice aspect of Dr. King... I had just heard in school, 'be nonviolent, [Dr. King's legacy] was all about desegregation.' It was absolutely not only about desegregation. If [Dr. King] would have done that and that only he would have been alive today. [Dr. King] was killed for many of the same reasons this man is campaigning for. He was killed because he spoke against the military industrial complex. He was killed because he believed in the fairy (sic) and equality of all men. He was killed because he had the courage to say it and had the courage to demand it out of corporations. And it is for that reason when I saw you tweet you were going to shoot for the restoration of the Voter's Rights Act I knew I had met the real deal. And everything you've shown me since then has been in that line and that's why you have a guy named Killer Mike sitting next to you talking about the most nonviolent warrior my race has ever created.
Killer Mike live-tweeted the debate from the audience, paraphrasing Sanders' message and emphasizing the politician's criticisms of rivals Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley. In many instances, his tweets were blunt and to the point.
In other tweets, the rapper translates the political speak on stage into 140 characters to promote the policies and legislative proposals that make up the foundation of Sanders platform.
Whether it's in the spin room, on Twitter, or in YouTube videos, Killer Mike's ability to speak directly to both black voters and the youth vote continues worked in Sanders favor, making him an indispensable champion of the #FeelTheBern movement.